Royal United Hospital, Bath: dads to stay overnight after the birth

6 June 2010

Fathers will soon be able to stay overnight with their partners and newborn babies at the Royal United Hospital and other maternity units in the Bath area.

Health chiefs have launched the Partners Staying Overnight pilot, to allow fathers to support their partners, as well as bonding with their new babies.

Clinical midwife manager for Wiltshire Community Health Services Amanda Gell said: “The pilot scheme responds to the needs of women who give birth either at night or the early hours of the morning and want the support of their partners in the crucial period after labour. “It also provides an extended opportunity for partners to bond with their babies, as well as allowing them to care for their loved ones.”

Antenatal tutor Noreen Hart from the National Childbirth Trust (which organised a family fun day in June 2010 to support the initiative) said: “During the last 12 months campaigners have been working closely with Wiltshire Community Health Services’ midwifery team and the suggestion of partners having the opportunity of staying the first night after birth was welcomed by all involved in maternity services. We are delighted to announce the launch of this pilot, only one of a handful in the country”.

Local father, Daniel Powell, also spoke out in support of the initiative: “The launch of this pilot is great news for parents –to-be at a time where more fathers are attending antenatal classes and are choosing to play an active role in supporting their partner through the birth process. The decision to allow dads to stay gives recognition to the importance of sustaining a stable nurturing environment for the labouring mother and also honours the bond between parents which is so often strengthened by the sharing of the birth experience. Having Fathers and birth partners present could also help to alleviate some workload stress from the midwives and nursing staff who from my personal experience, sometimes struggle to meet the needs of their patients during busy times.”

This article is adapted from an article published in the Bath Daily Chronicle on Monday 14 June 2010 and online